Damus Drops Bitcoin Tipping Feature After Apple Confrontation

Damus Drops Bitcoin Tipping Feature After Apple Confrontation

Damus, a social networking app backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has dropped its bitcoin tipping feature after a run-in with Apple.

After a two-week battle, Damus is dropping the “zaps” feature, which allowed users to distribute bitcoin rewards.

Red flags

According to AppleInsider,  the “zaps” feature on Damus did not make it past the Apple App Store review process. Apple takes the view that tips are in-app purchases, a feature the company reserves for its own platform.

As of June 26, Damus submitted a renewed version of their app to Apple. Despite the attempt, Apple found it unworthy and still not in compliance with its policies and regulations.

“Looks like we are getting removed from the Appstore even after updating our app to make it clear that no digital content is getting unlocked when users are tipped,” tweeted Damus.

“Users are only ever tipped after posts are made, the idea that content is being sold is nonsense.”

Ultimately Damus acquiesced to Apple’s demands. Damus will remove the feature despite its protests.

“We will be filing an appeal as this guideline is clearly being abused and misapplied,” said the company on Monday.


Warning shots

A fortnight ago, Apple issued a warning to Damus, advising them that they had 14 days to revise the feature that enables bitcoin payments.

“Damus will be removed from the app store in 14 days, Apple says zaps are not allowed on their platform because they *could* be used by content creators to sell digital content. This is right before we’re about to give our talk at the oslo freedom forum on how decentralized social networks with lightning integration are bringing financial freedom to the masses,” said Damus in tweet on June 13.  

But Apple, which has a history of prohibiting the sale of additional app content on its platform, argued that developers and content creators might take advantage of the feature to sell digital content on the platform.

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Inevitable backlash

Apple takes a 30% cut of all transactions that go through the company. Some Twitter users have dubbed this the “slave tax.”

Some users highlighted their displeasure at Apple’s decision while others think Damus should agree to all of Apple’s terms and conditions.

“Fight the good fight….their policy hurt small business app and hardware repair alike, their monopoly must be broken,” said one user identified as SKHILLZZzz.

Twitter boss Elon Musk weighed in on the issue.

“If Apple competes against the whole world, Apple will have the whole world against it. This is not a winning scenario,” he said.

Longstanding friction

Damus has an estimated user base of 160,000 after making bitcoin payments accessible. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey argues Apple misunderstands the tip feature.

“This seems to be a misunderstanding by @apple of how this feature works and what it is for. It has the capacity to bring people around the world into the economy without the traditional gatekeepers,” he tweeted after the first warning.

But Dorsey’s appeal to Apple CEO Tim Cook fell on deaf ears.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.